Summary: As we grow, we’ll go global.
Rev. Brian Bill
Introduction: “Think of Me” video
I want to propose this morning that if we’re serious about growing in grace we’ll care about the same things that Jesus does. And since God is a global God, as we grow, we’ll go global. We’ve established in this series that spiritual growth is intentional, not automatic. Two weeks ago we learned that if we want to grow in our relationship with God we must grow in our relationship with God’s Word. Last week we were challenged with this truth: How we manage our minutes and money reveals who our Master is.
One of the reasons I chose this topic today is because we can all stand to grow in our commitment to the cause of Christ around the world. I’m greatly encouraged by this church’s desire to be challenged to grow and to take the next steps and I can’t wait to see how you’re going to respond today.
The Bad News
But before we go much further we need to state the obvious: most of us don’t care much about what’s going on around the globe. According to The Ministry Area Profile Compass Report, only 6% of Americans believe that the church should be involved in global missions. Within a ten-mile radius of Pontiac Bible Church, this same report reveals that only 5% of people in our community think the church should focus on global concerns.
This percentage is confirmed by the Reveal Spiritual Life Survey which found that of the 14 activities you want your senior pastor to be involved with, ranking dead last with only 5% is this statement: “involved in issues of global significance” (Page 49). Still not convinced? In an informal survey done in January by our missions committee among our small groups, while there are some in our church family who are missions-minded, most PBC people don’t know who our missionaries are and they find that missions is frankly “boring.” One person said, “Missions doesn’t mean anything to me.”
And so I have a real challenge today since 95% don’t want me to speak on issues of global significance. On top of that, because many of you find this topic boring, I’m going to have to work extra hard to hold your attention. This might be even harder to speak on than money matters! Actually, what I want to do this morning is share with you God’s heart for the globe. When we glimpse God’s heart I know that we’ll grow and our commitment will go global as well. Incidentally, one of the suggested ideas for us to grow in our commitment to missions is for me to preach a sermon to change and correct some perceptions. That’s quite a challenge. I hope I can do that today.
The World is Flat
With the advent of the Internet and the pervasiveness of cable news, we are not only more connected to the world than ever before, our economy is internationally intertwined as well. I don’t have to tell you what increasing demand and the falling dollar is doing to our oil prices. Skyrocketing rice prices have caused some rationing in stores like Sam’s Club but even more concerning is that people in some countries can no longer even afford their staples. According to the Chicago Tribune, worldwide food prices have soared 45% over the past year. The World Bank has stated that 33 countries around the world are at risk of social upheaval as a result of acute increases in food and energy prices (Chicago Tribune, 4/13/08). Violent protests have already taken down the government of Haiti and the U.N. on Friday called this a “global crisis.”
The needs are overwhelming, aren’t they? But we must do something because as we grow, we’ll go global.
Agents of the Good News
While my regular custom is to exegete one main passage of Scripture; this morning we’re going to take a survey of some significant verses from both the Old and New Testaments in order to catch a glimpse of God’s global concern.
Genesis 12:1-3: “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” The principle is this: God blesses His people so they can bless others. God’s original intent has always been to bless all people through one people.
Exodus 9:16: (Referring to Pharaoh). “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” God’s name is to be proclaimed in the whole world and is made known even through people we might not expect.